Sponsor an Orphan Project
In 2006 a volunteer from Perth spent 6 months volunteering for BERUDA in Cameroon. Whilst working on developing the eco-tourism project for BERUDA, a good friend (Kate Lee) back in the UK asked if she could send £20 a month over to Cameroon to sponsor an orphan in the village. After extensive work researching the feasibility, sustainability, cost assessments and needs analysis it was decided that for all the work needed to set this up it made sense to develop it so that other friends could get involved and become sponsors as well.
The Beruda Sponsor an Orphan Project was born, and its goal to ensure all the sponsorship money sent was spent to the benefit of the child rather than being lost in bank fees and administration costs became paramount. As an African non-profit NGO, and not a ‘registered charity’ as recognised in the UK, BERUDA found it difficult to do simple things UK charities take for granted. Essential operational activities like; opening a dedicated bank account for orphan sponsorship money, sending money for free through PayPal, joining volunteer recruitment websites, registering for Gift Aid, applying for funding and being internationally recognised were impossible. To help overcome these obstacles and ensure the sustainability and development of the Beruda Sponsor an Orphan Project, Afri-link was set up in 2008.
The Beruda Sponsor an Orphan Project currently has 65 sponsored orphans. Sponsored orphans do not live in an orphanage, rather as is tradition in Cameroon, they are housed by relatives. Most of these families are extremely poor and have children of their own to clothe, pay school fees for and medicine for when they are sick. In Cameroon if you cannot afford the school fees then you cannot go to school, likewise if you cannot afford medicine when you are sick then you cannot receive treatment and you may die. Orphans are the last in the pecking order to be taken care of.
Through careful evaluation and needs analysis on the ground, sponsorship is strictly on a neediest first basis. Sponsorship covers education costs and text books, hospital bills and medicine, food supplements (U12) to combat malnutrition, clothes and a dedicated local fieldworker.
If you would like to sponsor an orphan, please use our contact form.
Beruda lights the way with solar energy
Over 75% of the rural population in Cameroon is without power. As the nights are long, this means that children can’t do their homework and families become isolated. If we can install solar power systems, then local people can benefit tremendously.
With a generous donation from one of Afri-link’s donors in Australia, BERUDA was able to install a solar system in the church in a rural community in Fundong Sub Division. This community, with a population of about 2000 inhabitants, living in isolated dwellings, was without electricity and the possibility of the national electricity line reaching them, even within a decade, is just a wish. But now, with electricity provided by solar power in the church, the people of Mentang no longer have to walk for hours to get their phones charged and night-time activities such as choir practice and doing homework can be carried out. They can also play musical instruments like the piano, a guitar and a band.
Named after the Afri-link project manager’s sister, Sarah’s Fund has helped many people from the Belo area to rise out of poverty. Sarah is a member of the United Reform Church in Hornsea in the UK and she worked tirelessly to raise funds. With the money provided, BERUDA and Afri-link established an outreach project to assist girls’ education, the elderly and schoolchildren.
Amongst the activities we carried out are; providing the elderly with blankets and fixing their houses; paying PTA fees for children whose parents couldn’t afford them; and paying school fees so that girls can get back into education.
Currently, cooking for the typical Cameroonian family in the Northern Highlands is carried out over open fires and indoors – there are frequent heavy rains in the equatorial region. This has several drawbacks:
1. Wood needs to be collected and it comes from local forests, thereby exacerbating the issues of deforestation, with resultant ecological consequences.
2. Furthermore, the collection of wood is carried out by women and children, thereby keeping them away from activities such as income generation and education.
3. As cooking is carried out indoors the smoke generated causes eye and chest problems for the whole family but mostly for the women.
Two pictures are shown below of indoor cooking and of the smoke effects on a building:
If an alternative to using wood to cook over open fires were available then these issues will disappear. This is where Biogas Plants can come into their own. There are many instances of small scale farming in the region being carried out with pigs, cows and chickens. If the animal excrement is collected, it can be fed into a Biodigester and produce useable gas for cooking. Doing this also reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. A diagrammatic representation of a Biogas Plant is shown below.
Animal excrement and vegetable waste can be fed into the Biogas plant and, under anaerobic bio-digestion in the digester, gas for cooking and bio-digestate are produced. Bio-digestate can be used as fertiliser, insecticide and as feedstock in a fishpond. Digestate fed into water helps plants and algae to grow and provides food for fish. Given this, the fish can grow and eventually be harvested to provide income.
Recently, Afri-link has raised money and supervised the construction and commissioning of a small-scale Biogas Plant and Fish Farm, to demonstrate the feasibility of employing this technology in Cameroon. The unit is fully operational and delivering the planned benefits. Photographs of the unit and the fish farm are shown below.
As a result of the successful operation of this unit, further installations are either in planning or construction.